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Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Makes A Website Great?

We all have good sites - sites that look nice, have cool features and lots of information but what makes a website great?

I really started thinking about this today after a call from my parents, they had tried to place an order on Sears.ca but couldn't remember their password, they tried multiple times to go through the reset password process but in the end they needed to call to get someone to reset the password for them.

What scares me, with this, is had they not been my parents would they have made the call or would they have given up and went somewhere else?

Sears.ca is a great website having won multiple awards over the past few years and the team we have is one of the best in the business yet we didn't have a site that helped a customer achieve their goal - to complete a purchase.  The hard part is that on any given day there can be thousands of different paths that lead to a purchase.  What are we doing to ensure that as many as possible are optimized for the user's expereince.

So here is the thought - a great site is one that makes it simple to transact, not only for the power users but for the majority of the population that transacts on your site a few times a year.  It doesn't need to be pretty, win awards or be considered on the leading edge but it needs to be an easy process for the consumer to get done what they want to get done as fast and easy (in their eyes) as possible.

We often stray off this path in the quest for something we think is important (awards, a new cool functionailty, etc.) but it is the great websites that understand this and make it the mantra of their business.